I spent much of last Friday ferrying Sis and my niece around town. They'd been here for the last several weeks and were due to fly back to Lagos that night. At about 9.30pm a text message flashed.."We've boarded, thanks for everything..". I was pleased that everything had gone as planned and went to bed with a feeling of satisfaction. Then at about 4.30am Saturday morning, another text message sounded, waking me from deep sleep.."We've arrived, but we're trapped on the plane..". Alarmed, I jumped out of bed and tried to call them in Nigeria, but couldn't get through for some reason. So I went downstairs made some coffee, and with nail-biting anxiousness switched on the TV just to see if there was Breaking News on CNN of an aircraft mishap in Nigeria..
And I don't know for how long I sat there, but much to my relief, my phone rang again. It was Sis's Nigeria number. Apparently, a few seconds after the A340 touched down on the runway at Murtala Mohammed Airport, the lights at the airport went off. There was a power outage at the airport and the plane was unable to taxi safely to its docking place, trapping everyone inside the plane for about 30 minutes. I am advised that the aeroplane was eventually manoeuvred from the taxi way to the airport building with the help of the aircraft's own bright landing lights. On arriving at the docking point, the building in total darkness, airport and airline officials switched on their mobile phones, using the light from their phones in an attempt to illuminate the very dark tunnel through which disembarking passengers had to practically grope and feel their way in order to get into the airport terminal building, which itself was still in complete darkness..
It was not until nearly an hour after they touched down that the lights in the airport finally came back on and the baggage belt started running, enabling tired (and frightened) passengers to retrieve their luggage.. And I was wondering, what if there was a person on that flight visiting Nigeria for the first time? What a welcome this was!
As an aside, if you're not already browsing with Google Chrome, don't spend another minute without it.. :)